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19 new Hall of Famers inducted at World Championships opening gala
19 new Hall of Famers inducted at World Championships opening gala
18 Sep 2018 23:10
by Mark Pickering - IJF
IJF Media Team / International Judo Federation

The IJF inducted 19 luminaries from the sport into its Hall of Fame on Tuesday at a gala dinner at the Buta Palace in Baku ahead of the 2018 World Judo Championships. Judo legends, Olympic champions, sporting greats and special guests were among those in attendance.

Elnur Mammadli (AZE)

Elnur Mammadli became the fourth Olympic champion in the history of Azeri sport and the only one in Beijing. He is now Vice-President of the Judo Federation of Azerbaijan.  

Nazim Husseynov (AZE)

The first Azeri Olympic champion after the independence of his country, Husseynov is a living legend and sporting idol in his country. 

Ilham Zakiyev (AZE)

Visually impaired judoka Zakiyev distinguished himself by becoming Paralympic Champion in the +100kg weight division, at the Athens Games in 2004, and again at the Beijing Games in 2008  

Antal Kovacs (HUN)  

Paks native Kovacs became the first Hungarian judoka to win the Olympic Games and World Judo Championships. Hungarian legend Antal Kovacs was inducted by double Olympic champion and 10-time world champion Teddy Riner who is also Chairman of the IJF Athletes Commission. 

Hitoshi Saito (JPN)

Japanese all-time great Saito was posthumously inducted into the IJF Hall of Fame. Saito, who passed away in 2015, became the first Japanese judoka to become a double Olympic gold medallist as he won the title in the heavyweight category in 1984 (Los Angeles) and 1988 (Seoul).  

Ayumi Tanimoto (JPN)

Double Olympic champion Tanimoto starred for her country at both the Athens 2004 Athens Olympics and 2008 Beijing Olympics.   

Xian Dongmei (CHN)

Chinese great Dongmei won two Olympic titles in 2004 in Athens and in 2008 in Beijing and is now President of the Chinese Judo Association.

Sun-Hui Kye (DPR)

Four-time world champion Kye also won three medals in three different weight categories at the Olympic Games.  

Min-Sun Cho (KOR)

Now an established top-level referee, Cho won a first bronze medal in -48kg at the Seoul Games in 1988, when women's judo was a demonstration sport. Cho was finally crowned Olympic champion at -66 kg in 1996 in Atlanta.  

Anis Lounifi (TUN) 

Lounifi earned his title of glory by becoming the first African world judo champion in 2001 in Munich.

Hesham Mesbah (EGY)

Mesbah won Egypt's second Olympic medal in judo (bronze in 2008), 24 years after Mohamed Rashwan, who had won the silver medal at the 1984 Summer Olympics

Amar Benikhlef (ALG)

Benikhlef took silver medal at the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics and is now a coach of the Algerian national team.

Nicolas Gill (CAN) 

Canadian legend made his name at the Olympic Games, winning a first bronze medal at the 1992 Games in Barcelona in -86kg, and eight years later, earned silver in -100kg in Sydney.

Jimmy Pedro (USA)

In 1999, he won the major title of his career at the Birmingham Worlds. The 1996 Olympic bronze medallist returned to his best level in 2004, after taking a break from competition, to win a second bronze medal at the Athens Games (-73kg). 

Rusty Kanokogi (USA)

In 1980, Kanokogi organised the first women's judo world championship in Madison Square Garden's Felt Forum, sponsoring it through the mortgage of her own home. She was the driving force behind the introduction of women's judo at the 1988 Summer Olympics. Kanokogi died in 2009.  

Ronaldo Veitia (CUB) 

Ronaldo coached his team at six Olympic 
Games from 1992 to 2012 and obtained 5
 gold, 9 silver and 10 bronze medals. This
 made him the coach with the largest amount
of Olympic medals in the history of Judo.

Mark Huizinga (NED)

Huizinga won the gold medal in the men's under 90 kg class at the 2000 Summer Olympics by defeating Brazil's Carlos Honorato by ippon. He took bronze at the 1996 and 2004 Summer Olympics.

Jane Bridge (GBR) 

British champion Bridge is known for being the first woman in history to become World Judo Champion. She won this first world crown in 1980 in New York, in the -48kg category.

Felice Mariani (ITA) 

Mariani was the first Italian to win an Olympic medal in judo. After retirement, he became coach of the Italian national team, and led Giulia Quintavalle to a sensational Olympic gold medal in the -57kg class at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

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